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The Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee Rejects DNA Testing

iStock_000002679865XSmallSee the new article at Seed Magazine “Inheriting Confucius,” which discusses efforts to generate a family tree containing the 2 million+ descendants of Confucius.

Kong De-Yong, a 77th(!) generation descendant of Confucius, has been compiling the tree for the last 10 years.  Although the Committee is accepting submissions from women and other previously excluded groups, it is not accepting DNA contributions.  According to the article, this “hints at the limits of Chinese engagement with the age of genomics, and demonstrates how high cultural stakes can constrain science.”  Unfortunately, as the author of the article suggests, many people might be afraid of the results of such DNA testing: “Given the potential implications of genetic knowledge for long-presumed members of the [Confucius] family, they think it better not to know.”

However, there is of course no need for the Committee’s participation in order to learn more about Confucius’ DNA or Confucuis’ descendants (although it would be nice, of course).  A Confucius DNA Project has already been initiated by the Beijing Institute of Genomics, and Confucius descendants can submit a sample for analysis for the price of $125.

Blaine Bettinger

Intellectual property attorney, genealogist, and author of The Genetic Genealogist since 2007

7 Comments

  1. Mathematicians have concluded that every man in the world is a descendant of Confucius and Nefertiti, and every European is a descendant of Muhammad and Charlemagne.

  2. I personally doubt that every European is a descendant of Charlemagne and Mohammed–likewise I doubt there is 100% saturation with the others mentioned. I say this because I read a different article on the mathematics that gave an 85% descendancy of Europeans from Charlemagne. Also, it would not surprise me if there was enough isolation in China to restrict the gene pool of Confucius. But just my opinion.

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